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Vettel's winning streak ends in Australia

March 16, 2014 13:15 IST

Vettel's winning streak ends in Australia

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Sebastian Vettel's record run of nine consecutive race victories ended on Sunday when the quadruple world champion retired his Red Bull from the season-opening Australian Grand Prix with a reliability problem.

The German complained of a lack of boost pressure during his pre-race installation lap and was noticeably lacking in power when taking off from 12th place on the grid.

Vettel told his team over the radio before the race started that "the engine is not running smoothly" and after a few laps around Albert Park circuit headed back to the pits.


Image: Sebastian Vettel
Photographs: Mark Thompson/Getty Images

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'On the second formation lap already we lost power'

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Vettel's retirement snapped a winning streak that started at the Belgian Grand Prix in August.

Mercedes' Lewis Hamilton, the last driver to beat Vettel when he won the Hungarian Grand Prix in July, also retired on Sunday with an engine problem.

"On the second formation lap already we lost power," Vettel told Britain's Sky television.

"We didn't understand why and then basically I had no power from the start. The cars kept passing me. I was down. We tried to recover as much as we could.

"At some stage I thought there was a slight improvement but obviously we realised there was a bigger problem with the engine for some reason. I think it looked like we lost a couple of cylinders," explained the German.


Image: Sebastian Vettel
Photographs: David Gray/Reuters

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'No doubt we'll fix these issues'

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Sunday's race was the first for Formula One's new V6 turbo engine with its complicated energy recovery systems and Red Bull had arrived in Melbourne with a big question mark over their Renault power unit after problems in testing.

"When you don't have the power from the engine, you can't make the whole system function properly and then you lose even more power and so we had to stop." said Vettel.

"No doubt we'll fix these issues. The question is how soon," he added.

"We are working hard...obviously we started a bit on the back foot but we've learned this weekend an awful lot. We also learned the car is quick so if the package comes together I think we are very competitive."


Image: Sebastian Vettel
Photographs: Mark Thompson/Getty Images

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Hamilton retires

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Pole-sitter Lewis Hamilton retired from the Australian Formula One Grand Prix on his third lap of the Albert Park circuit after an engine problem on Sunday.

The 29-year-old Mercedes driver, fastest in Saturday qualifying, was told to retire over his team radio due to a reliability problem and duly pitted, removing the steering wheel after parking up.

"I think I was driving on five cylinders," Hamilton told Britain's Sky television. "It's a bit unfortunate but that's racing."


Image: Lewis Hamilton
Photographs: Clive Mason/Getty Images

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'It's only a small hiccup'

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Formula One started a new engine era in Melbourne, the first race for the V6 turbo units with energy recovery systems that have replaced the old V8s.

Mercedes had arrived as clear favourites after their engine had looked the most reliable in pre-season testing, with Hamilton and German team mate Nico Rosberg putting in plenty of laps and carrying out race simulations without problem.

Hamilton said the pace of the car was one of the positives from the weekend.

"We will recover from this, it's only a small hiccup. There's a long way to go still," he added. "At the moment I'm not concerned about anything."


Image: Lewis Hamilton
Photographs: Mark Thompson/Getty Images

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